Deutsche Telekom rules out rural DSL

Europe's largest telecoms company, Deutsche Telekom, has informed thousands of Internet users in rural areas that it will not be...

Europe's largest telecoms company, Deutsche Telekom, has informed thousands of Internet users in rural areas that it will not be providing Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) connections in the near future.

The German operator has decided not to deploy DSL service to users in a number of remote areas in order to lower costs.

"We have sent letters to several thousand telephone customers, who requested DSL connections and to whom we had planned to provide the service, that we will now not be able to deliver it in the near future, if at all," a spokesman said. "For the most part, these are people who live in some very remote areas, where we can't justify the cost of upgrading the local exchanges to provide DSL service."

The decision not to provide service to this group of users comes as DT embarks on a major cost-reduction strategy to lower the group's debt of over €67bn (£42bn). The company aims to lower its debt load to around €50 billion by the end of next year.

"This is purely an economic decision," the spokesman said. "It's considerably cheaper to connect customers in the larger cities than it is in rural areas."

DT will offer its satellite-DSL service to customers affected by the cost cuts. They will receive the service with a small discount.

The service provides a 768Kbps (bits per second) downlink via satellite and a 64Kbps or 128Kbps uplink over a fixed-line ISDN connection.

The German operator has 2.4 million DSL customers. On average, it is connecting around 70,000 customers per month.

Former DT chief executive Ron Sommer had hoped to secure between seven and eight million DSL users by the end of 2004. Whether his still-to-be-appointed successor will stick to that ambitious plan remains to be seen.

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